Coating-Dependent Effects of Silver Nanoparticles on Tobacco Seed Germination and Early Growth

Renata Biba, Dajana Matic, Daniel Mark Lyons, Petra Peharec Stefanic, Petra Cvjetko, Mirta Tkalec, Dubravko Pavokovic, Ilse Letofsky-Papst, Biljana Balen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used in a wide range of consumer products because of their excellent antimicrobial properties. AgNPs released into the environment are prone to transformations such as aggregation, oxidation, or dissolution so they are often stabilised by coatings that affect their physico-chemical properties and change their effect on living organisms. In this study we investigated the stability of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) coated AgNPs in an exposure medium, as well as their effect on tobacco germination and early growth. AgNP-CTAB was found to be more stable in the solid Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium compared to AgNP-PVP. The uptake and accumulation of silver in seedlings was equally efficient after exposure to both types of AgNPs. However, AgNP-PVP induced only mild toxicity on seedlings growth, while AgNP-CTAB caused severe negative effects on all parameters, even compared to AgNO 3. Moreover, CTAB coating itself exerted negative effects on growth. Cysteine addition generally alleviated AgNP-PVP-induced negative effects, while it failed to improve germination and growth parameters after exposure to AgNP-CTAB. These results suggest that the toxic effects of AgNP-PVP are mainly a consequence of release of Ag+ ions, while phytotoxicity of AgNP-CTAB can rather be ascribed to surface coating itself.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3441
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • AgNP stability
  • Fresh and dry weight
  • Germination
  • Nicotiana tabacum L.
  • Root length
  • Silver nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)


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